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EUVOLUNTARY OR NOT, EXCHANGE IS JUST*

  • Michael C. Munger (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

The arguments for redistribution of wealth, and for prohibiting certain transactions such as price-gouging, both are based in mistaken conceptions of exchange. This paper proposes a neologism, “euvoluntary” exchange, meaning both that the exchange is truly voluntary and that it benefits both parties to the transaction. The argument has two parts: First, all euvoluntary exchanges should be permitted, and there is no justification for redistribution of wealth if disparities result only from euvoluntary exchanges. Second, even exchanges that are not euvoluntary should generally be permitted, because access to market exchange may be the only means by which people in desperate circumstances can improve their position.

Abstract

The arguments for redistribution of wealth, and for prohibiting certain transactions such as price-gouging, both are based in mistaken conceptions of exchange. This paper proposes a neologism, “euvoluntary” exchange, meaning both that the exchange is truly voluntary and that it benefits both parties to the transaction. The argument has two parts: First, all euvoluntary exchanges should be permitted, and there is no justification for redistribution of wealth if disparities result only from euvoluntary exchanges. Second, even exchanges that are not euvoluntary should generally be permitted, because access to market exchange may be the only means by which people in desperate circumstances can improve their position.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Friedrich A. Hayek , Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 78

Avner Greif , Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson , Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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